The tarpon is commonly found in the waters of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas and Florida, but one tarpon species resides in the Indo-Pacific. You will normally find this fish in schools during the day, and larger schools may inhabit a certain area on a reef for years. The tarpon actively feed at night and they can grow up to a size of about eight feet (2.4 meters).
It’s amazing to watch the larger tarpon schools during the day, but even more thrilling to observe them feed at night. Most tarpon we have encountered are not too worried about divers, but they will swim off if pursued.
During a night dive this particular critter swam right next to me, swooshing by my head as he made a pass for the tiny fish swarming around my powerful dive light. I was so startled at his size that I really did scream underwater in my regulator! But once I composed myself and realized that he was only around to eat dinner, it was truly breathtaking to watch him feed.
To give you an idea just how large this tarpon was, the cleaner fish swimming next to his side in this photo was about 12-14 inches long!